Ben Nevis distillery was founded in 1825 by John McDonald at the foot of Ben Nevis (the tallest peak in Britain). In the 1950’s, the new owners (Ben Nevis Distillery Ltd.) installed coffey stills to produce grain whisky. Due to the presence of both malt and grain stills on site during this time Ben Nevis is one fo the few distilleries that can produce a “single blend”, which is a blend comprised of malt and grain whisky from a single distillery. In 1971 Long John Distillers bought back the distillery and removed the coffey stills. The distillery was closed in 1986, then purchase by a Japanese whisky company (Nikka) in 1989 and re-opened in 1991. Ben Nevis single malt is a bit hard to find and the only expression you’ll likely encounter in the shop is the Ben Nevis 10 year old. However, you are likely to see their blends (not single blends) under the name of “Dew of Ben Nevis”.
The Balvenie Double Wood 12 years old has some historical significance to me and a lot of historical significance to the whisky industry. For me it was the last bottle of whisky I bought in Scotland before moving back home to LA (I moved back to Scotland not long after) after finishing my masters degree. At the time, I just thought it looked nice and it was on sale at the super market. I suspect this is how most people first buy it. It really is an attarctive bottle. Only much later did I learn the true significance of this expression.
Well if you’ve never heard of Chivas Regal, then you must be new to whisky. And possibly just new to the world. It’s truly one of the big Scottish whiskies that has thoroughly infiltrated pop culture and bars across the world. The company began, like other big and old whisky companies, as a grocery store in Scotland. The Chivas brothers opened up their grocery store in Aberdeen in 1801. They unsurprisingly sold luxury items and in the 1850’s James Chivas made their first blend, Royal Glen Dee, to suit the more delicate palates of their refined customers. In 1909 the Chivas Regal brand was born with their release of the Chivas Regal 25 year old. This has been called the original luxury Scotch and was marketed mainly toward the new wealthy class in the USA. Today their flagship whisky is the Chivas Regal 12 although they also have other expressions like the 18 and 25. However, those come with quite the premium price tag.
Well, well, well. A Kilchoman general release of their famously peaty spirit aged entirely in ex-sauternes casks. For those who may have missed it, they actually released a club version of this back in the winter of 2015. So while the marketting spiel is calling this one the first sauternes cask matured Kilchoman, it’s not quite. But it is the first to be available to the general public. Although really anyone can join the Kilchoman club.
Wooo woooo! Let’s all jump on the grain whisky train! Seems like all the whisy companies are doing it these days. If you are wondering why grain whisky is becoming so popular all of a sudden, I have a little theory about it.
Glencadam distillery has always been a bit of a puzzle to me. Founded in 1825, it is one of the oldest running distilleries in Scotland and yet it’s still quite unkown. Or at least it doesn’t seem to have the cult following that other distilleries of similar heritage have enjoyed. It’s awkwardly positioned north of the firth of Tay and thus has a bit of an identity crisis when trying to categorize it by region. Some might call it a highland malt and others say midland. It’s not technically in the highlands but it’s pretty close. It definitely isn’t lowland. It just kind of sits there near the east coast of Scotland right off a major road and yet no one seems to notice.
Kingsbarns Distillery is a new distillery that was built by the independent bottler Wemyss Malts. Douglas Clement was the brainchild for the project and the distillery started producing spirit in 2014/2015 (read rest of post for explanation). The distillery is located near St. Andrews on the east coast of Scotland.
7 days a week (closed 25/26 December and 1/2 January)
November – February: 11am – 4pm.
(Mon-Wed) Tours: 11.30am, 2.30pm (Thur-Sun) Tours 11.30am, 1.00pm and 2.30pm
March and October: 10am – 5pm. Tours: 11.00am, 12.30pm, 2.00pm and 3.30pm
April – September: 10am – 6pm. First tour 1030am, last tour 430pm.